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Migrant Wire Transfers Account for Half of Tajik GDP

SOCHI — Money wired home by Tajiks working in Russia accounted for half of Tajikistan's GDP in 2013, according to recent statistics.

The total volume of transfers from 1.1 million Tajiks working in Russia last year amounted to $3.6 billion, according to a printed press statement distributed before President Vladimir Putin's meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon on Thursday.

Last year, the figure was reported at $3.8 billion, or 47 percent of the GDP of the poor Central Asian country, which has a population of 8 million.

Russian-Tajik bilateral trade grew 2 percent to $688 million in the first 11 months of last year, of which 85 percent came from Russian exports, the statement said.

Russia is Tajikistan's leading trade partner, accounting for 21 percent of the landlocked country's trade, according to the statement, which put Russian investment in Tajikistan at $1.2 billion.

Putin was set to discuss economic and military cooperation, as well as anti-drug efforts, at a meeting with Rahmon in the Russian presidential residence in Sochi.

Russia maintains an army base in Tajikistan, its biggest one on foreign turf. The base, the lease on which was prolonged until 2042 after years of troubled negotiations, is supposed to safeguard the former Soviet republic from possible Islamist attacks from neighboring Afghanistan.

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